Sonia Gandhi was once known as a leader who could win elections for the Congress party. However, post-2014, when the reformed BJP machinery came into being under Amit Shah, such perceptions about her were swept away as the BJP went on a winning spree across the country. Facing successive defeats in elections, the image of Sonia and Rahul Gandhi was dented like never before, with many even suggesting that the two lacked the basic political understanding to counter the BJP’s mass appeal and election machinery.
After Rahul Gandhi stepped down as President of the Congress Party, instead of turning towards electing a new, young and promising leader, Sonia Gandhi took the reins, taking the Congress back to square one. The Gandhi leadership in the Congress has always sidelined dynamic and promising leaders in the party, and it is one of the reasons why their election campaigns are utter failures.
Now, For the sake of protecting the stature of Rahul and Priyanka Gandhi, Sonia Gandhi is running so desperately short on star power that she has appointed 87-year old former Prime Minister Manmohan Singh as one of the star campaigners for the Rajasthan bypoll campaign, in a heartless move.
From a leader who got many victories for the Congress party, to now a party President taking desperate measures, Sonia Gandhi’s fall has been rather drastic. Here, we are not even talking about Rahul Gandhi, since his political acumen is well known to all. The state assembly elections of Haryana and Maharashtra are due to be held on October 21st, with the counting to be done on the 24th of the same month. Along with these states, there are also bypolls scheduled to be held across various states. Particularly interesting, is the Congress’ star campaigners list for the Rajasthan bypolls. Rajasthan, many would suggest, is a prestige battle for both the Congress and the BJP, more so for the former.
With internal rebellion stemming in the party cadre in the state, and Ashok Gehlot’s helpless reputation, these bypolls would be a litmus test for the Congress government in the state. So high are the stakes, that Sonia Gandhi thought it best to bring in Dr. Manmohan Singh as a star campaigner in the state. A person with the minimum of political understanding in today’s age would tell you that Manmohan Singh can simply yield no political capital for the Congress party.
Manmohan Singh has seldom dealt in politics and his entry into 7, Race Course Road, was not a planned one but an accidental one. During his tenure he had been dubbed as the ‘remote-control’ PM as the actual reins of the country were openly in the hands of Italian born Sonia Gandhi. To now make the 87 year old campaign in public rallies and padyatras for congress is not only a foolish, heartless decision, but it is also an insult to the former Prime Minister.
As an unsaid rule, the Congress top leadership does not campaign in bypolls of any state. Yet, they deem it fit to now include Manmohan Singh as a campaigner for a bypoll? No other leader, like Sonia Gandhi, Rahul Gandhi, Ahmed Patel or Ghulam Nabi Azad are a part of this list. Either they do not consider the former PM to be a part of the top leadership, or they have not really thought this decision through. Manmohan Singh is also a star-campaigner for the Haryana assembly polls.
Manmohan Singh cannot win elections for the party. It is a fact. This decision is purely desperate in nature. It makes absolutely no sense to parade an 87 year old former Prime Minister for bypoll campaigns. Manmohan Singh has never been instrumental in poll campaigning and canvassing for votes. To save the party from another almost certain poll debacle, Sonia Gandhi is pulling all the strings that she can. There is very little which she can expect from Rahul and Priyanka Gandhi. It can also be that she has sensed the feeling on the ground, that people are in no mood to be sermonized by colossal dynasts. On the other hand, it can also be a sinister ploy to blame any poll defeat on Manmohan Singh. He, like we know, has always been used as a pawn. If that is the case, the party really has no future remaining.